This past week I spent much of my free time writing a letter to the L’Abri workers (full-time staff) about the possibility of my staying on next term as a helper. If I am accepted, I will stay for free, have one afternoon a week to study and work crews and work projects the rest of the week.
I want to share my letter with you, for it was a great exercise for me personally insomuch as it gave me insight into what is happening here now that I desire to continue for another term.
Life at L’Abri has become a thing most precious to me. I enjoy being a part of this community and would like to deepen my involvement, returning next term as a helper. It is satisfying to contribute to the daily livelihood of a community, to know that people are eating because of the bread I made or that the grounds are lovely because of the leaves I raked. But it is much more than this. We share the work and engage in each other’s lives as we labor alongside one another: people are enjoying the meal we made; L’Abri is beautiful because of the work we’ve done collectively. There is a love-induced pride in the work and the fellowship.
I believe in the work of L’Abri and desire to support and contribute to this place that provides a safe haven for people to discuss issues that in other Christian contexts are considered unmentionable, a shelter from the totalizing violence of various Christian subcultures and culture at large, and an alternative to western individualism within the joys and challenges of constant community. My benefit from this is twofold in that I am free to exist in the vulnerable-secure dichotomy of honesty, which in turn frees me to provide a sense of home for others. Already this term my fellow students honor me with regard as a leader and a shepherd, someone they trust, and I hope they also feel encouraged by my love for the work and the diligence and strong work ethic that derives from that love.
I would also like to continue my studies. I have so many varied interests and L’Abri is a great venue for entertaining a myriad of interests through formal lunches and study and tutorials. I really value my tutorial time and desire to continue working with Jasie through my issues and the spiritual disciplines and the current issues of the Christian subculture. I love the church. It hurts me to see it hurting so and I feel overwhelmed when I try to think about what to do. I view my time here as an opportunity to remove myself from the situation so as to see more clearly what’s happening now, where things are going, and what to do. My time here also serves as a stint of consideration for the next step in my personal life. The slower pace of life at L’Abri blesses me in many ways, significantly in the time it affords me to grow in my communal role of neighbor and friend and my individual role of person.
I understand being a helper is difficult. I don’t pretend that it will always be easy regardless of my experience. On the contrary, it is because of my experience that I know it is difficult at times. So I do not wish to communicate naive expectations, but I do earnestly enjoy being at L’Abri and desire to stay and more deeply develop what has begun – both in my personal life as well as in the relationships I have come to cherish.
Thank you for your encouragement throughout this process and throughout my journey as a whole.